Controversial media personality and migrant basher Katie Hopkins has been silenced at a Brunel University Student Union’s debate.
The right wing media columnist was invited as a panelist at the university’s 50th anniversary debate on the future of the welfare state.
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A packed lecture hall awaited the professional troll and former Apprentice contestant, who earlier this year caused outrage by referring to drowning Mediterranean migrants as “cockroaches”
However, as she made her opening comments the students stood and turned their backs on her and then filed out in protest.
The video below shows that most students did not want to be lectured by Ms. Hopkin and decided the best way to deal with her was not by silencing or threatening – but rather by turning their backs on her.
Brunel Students YouTube video:
The Guardian reports:
The inclusion of Hopkins on the west London university’s debate panel was met with widespread outcry from the student body. But the union did not want to undermine the principle of free speech by calling for her to be banned from the event. Instead, they came up with the ultimate show of peaceful disapproval: organised back-turning.
Union president Ali Milani explained in a blogpost: “It is important to note that the conversation at no point has been about banning Ms Hopkins from speaking on campus, or denying her right to speak. It is instead about saying it is distasteful and incongruous for our university, as part of a 50th celebration event, to provide a platform to someone who adds nothing to the intellectual or academic discourse; and an individual who publicly utters such overtly bigoted views.”
Milani said “around 50%” of the audience were left in the auditorium.
Joe Nicell, Brunel SU’s communications manager, told the Independent about 50 people left the auditorium when Hopkins began her speech. He said: “It was mainly that we didn’t feel that she fitted the debate and she wasn’t the right person to be speaking.”
As the video attracted nearly 70,000 views on Thursday, Hopkins tweeted a response to the “Offended Young Nation”. She wrote: “Many thanks to the students of #brunelmassdebates for getting me trending on Facebook. You rock. #bruneldebates.”
Many thanks to the students of #brunelmassdebates for getting me trending on Facebook. You rock. #bruneldebates pic.twitter.com/1bhnygWYHv
— Katie Hopkins (@KTHopkins) November 26, 2015
She later tweeted: “Looking forward to speaking at Cambridge Union next week #brunelmassdebates.”
“Make no mistake, these migrants are like cockroaches. They might look a bit ‘Bob Geldof’s Ethiopia circa 1984’, but they are built to survive a nuclear bomb. They are survivors.”
UN human rights chief denounces Sun over Katie Hopkins ‘cockroach’ column
The right wing media celebrity had recently caused controversy by calling immigrants crossing the Mediterranean into Europe “cockroaches.” The UN high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, said that “cockroaches” was used by both the Nazis in the second world war, and the Hutus in the 1994 Rwanda genocide.
The Guardian reports:
But such language, he added, was typical of “decades of sustained and unrestrained anti-foreigner abuse, misinformation and distortion” when it came to the reporting of migrant and refugee issues in the British media.
On 17 April, Hopkins – a columnist for the Sun, Britain’s biggest-selling newspaper – wrote that she was resolutely unmoved by the plight of those risking their lives by crossing the Mediterranean.
Hopkins, a former contestant on the BBC1 show The Apprentice, and perennial courter of controversy, wrote: “No, I don’t care. Show me pictures of coffins, show me bodies floating in water, play violins and show me skinny people looking sad. I still don’t care.”
Hopkins added: “Make no mistake, these migrants are like cockroaches. They might look a bit ‘Bob Geldof’s Ethiopia circa 1984’, but they are built to survive a nuclear bomb. They are survivors.”
The column appeared hours before a fishing vessel packed with migrants capsized off the coast of Libya, with the loss of 800 lives.
A spokesperson for the UK industry regulator, the Independent Press Standards Organisation, said: “We can confirm that there have been more than 300 complaints about the article. IPSO is investigating whether the piece breaches the Editors’ Code and will publish its findings in due course. While this process continues, it would not be right to provide a detailed response on the investigation or the broader issues it raises.”
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